Is there a lost & found for souls?

We experienced another school shooting, this time in Michigan. I sincerely believed that Sandy Hook Elementary School would have been the last one tolerated in this country, the victims being kindergarten students but I was so wrong. “Eight years later, our leaders have yet to prove this child’s truth wrong. Since Sandy Hook, Americans have witnessed, suffered, or died in 2,938 mass shootings. (Childrensdefense.org December 14,2020). .

When the unimaginable happens, like a school shooting, it seems like there should be a resolve to respond immediately. But there has been little movement in the laws. What is even more troubling is that the perpetrators of many school shootings have been young people. How did we get here? A child is born with an innocence, a genuine love for everyone. How did our children arrive at, you hurt me so I kill you? The shooter this week was a high school kid. His parents were alerted but there seemed to be a disconnect between the school and the parents as to the child’s mental state. Clearly the kid was hurting. I ask myself, what happened to this kid? How could murder be the answer to pain? He lost his soul. Where did it go?

School shooting in Michigan December 1, 2021.

Why Oxford High shooting suspect was charged with terrorism: ‘What about all the children who ran, screaming?’ Washington Post

A soul is like a candle, it has the potential to shine and give warmth. When the light is extinguished, or the wick, for example is used up, the light can no longer shine. No one caught, in this case, that the wick was wearing down. I wonder, is there any wick left to reignite? I do not believe this young man understood that human beings are interconnected and interdependent. When you hurt one, the entire human family experiences a trauma. Four high school students lost their lives, the impact is far reaching. All, the wonder, beauty, love, and enjoyment of life that would have come from these exceptional lives is gone. He lost sight of this. I don’t know if your heart is broken, but the loss leaves me breathless. If you understand spirituality, we have all been diminished by this immeasurable loss.

And hope does not put us to shame,

Romans 5:5 NIV

As a Christ follower, I have the luxury of believing in hope. Hope gives me the ability to investigate senseless situations with the expectation that on a divine scale, love and light will emerge somehow. And, let me share a secret with you, every life is a divine light, and as long as love exists, that light will continue to shine. Love doesn’t end. You can’t destroy love. He didn’t know this either.

Self-reflection is a key to igniting the soul. If we are willing to look in the mirror and be authentic, we can hear our inner voice, feel the warmth of the love and see the light that shines through us from it. I turn to my faith and pray,” Help me to not be afraid to respond when I see a soul lost. Help me to be present and listen to the silent screams for help. Help me to sense when someone is in danger of losing their soul. And give me the wisdom to trust myself as I alert others who are skilled and trained to follow up and intervene.” Included in this petition is a silent prayer for myself, ‘Lord never let the lost soul that I am looking for, be mine.

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What in the world is going on?

This past year has been amazing. I hope that I am not the only person who has turned on the television and sat in disbelief as I listened to the broadcast. There are serious challenges facing this generation. I was glued to the television watching the evacuation or lack there of from Afghanistan. Twenty years of military investment and whatever was built seemed to only support it’s weight for a few months. What was going through the minds of the people who desired to leave? What grief must have filled their hearts having to make choices between one’s homeland and family. I was glued to the tv screen as individuals tried to navigate through checkpoints that seemed more like barriers at the airport. What in the world is going on? I asked myself. It seemed inhumane, frustrating, and futile, simultaneously. It only took a few moments of watching for me to become keenly aware of how much I take for granted in my life.

I recently read an article about athletes being harassed. One player was even fearful of receiving death threats. I thought, “what in the world is going on?” Gymnast (G.O.A.T.) Simone Biles was unable to complete the competitions during the Tokyo Olympics highlighting her mental health. Tennis Champion Naomi Osaka had withdrawn from several tennis tournaments citing mental duress. Swimmer (G.O.A.T.) Michael Phelps has been very public in sharing his journey with mental illness. I remember him during an interview say, “It is ok not to be ok.” That has stuck with me. Much of the mental duress unfortunately seems tied to fan expectation. The weight of the sport being placed on these elite athletes’ shoulders. I agree with Simone, athletes are human beings. Maybe people think because it looks easy that it is easy. I don’t know but threats of any kind seem to be way out of line. And, wanting any human being to be consistently perfect is unhealthy and impossible.

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Shelby Rogers Expects ‘9 Million Death Threats’ on Social Media After US Open Loss

https://bleacherreport.com/articles/10011866-shelby-rogers-expects-9-million-death-threats-on-social-media-after-us-open-lossThe veteran acknowledged the marketing aspect of social media but the negative comments are at issue”

Living with gratitude

If we are honest, we all could benefit from a little intervention. This pandemic has been a last straw. The world has been touched by this health crisis. Every human being has a shared experience, a lack of control. Many are searching for who to trust, a voice saying that everything is ok. When will things get back to normal? Soon but we need to work together. We need a new set of rules to live by. Rules that can be effective in the worst of times and in the best of times. I believe I have found a solution.

When I find myself drifting into despair because of a loss or bad experience, I search for something for which to be thankful. Living with gratitude always helps me find a reason to see the glass half full. I have an ulterior motive for living this way also, my tween age daughter. She was thrust into a life that was new, scary, and surrounded with negative energy because of this pandemic. I recognized that she was feeling out of control. She was using negativity to belittle problems that seemed too big and uncontrollable. We adults have learned that life is filled with uncontrollable events and experiences. I found discussing her fears was ok but I needed her to change her thinking. I found her a counselor. Yes, there are wonderful therapists who work with children. I changed too. Instead of always asking about the problem and what was wrong, I began to ask her about life and to find something for which to be grateful. Everyday on our way to school, I asked her, “What are you thankful for today?” At first, she didn’t know what to say. But as she realized that I wasn’t judging the answers, she began to find the courage to tap into her vulnerability. I followed her by gaining the courage to explain to her that she has choices. No matter how challenging a situation, she decides how she will respond. She is the chef and her life experiences are the ingredients. I believe that my lessons (she calls them lectures (SMILE)) will stick. I may not be able to change the world but I can change one.

What in the world is going on? Life. Many people are hurting but I am grateful that I am able to catch glimpses of beauty in it. I hope that I am helping others to see some too.


Why the Hate?

…when they were in the field, Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. The Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother? He said, “I do not know. Am I my brothers keeper?” and He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. Genesis 4:8-9

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The Greenwood Massacre 1821

The Tulsa Race Massacre stands out as one of the worst acts of racial violence in American history—and, for decades, it remained one of the least known. Over the course of 18 hours, from May 31 to June 1, 1921, a white mob attacked residents, homes and businesses in the predominantly Black Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma. News reports were largely squelched for decades, despite the fact that hundreds of people were killed and thousands were left homeless. https://www.history.com/news/tulsa-race-massacre-facts

It’s Not Just The Race Thing But The Hate Thing

May 31, 2021 marked the 100th Anniversary of the Tulsa Oklahoma Race Massacre. Many know of this event as the burning down of Black Wall Street. The beautiful souls who were living in this city, peacefully were thriving professionals and entrepreneurs. Barbers, landlords, doctors operating hospitals, teachers running schools, moms, and dads were living in this booming segregated area in Tulsa until jealously and hatred created a reason to kill the residents and burn the city to the ground. History is bringing this dark event into the light. Some ask why is society just now learning about this domestic terrorist event but I wonder how could race make people hate so passionately that they could kill innocent people and destroy their property? Race is not real.

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As we exit the first pandemic in our country since 1918, one can see our society from a new vantage point. It can be liken to the beach after a severe hurricane, covered in rocks, ugly, and uncomfortable. The rocks were there all the time but buried underneath the sand. When ‘all men are created equal’ was written, many of those who embraced this notion had an unwritten belief that some beings were not included because of their race. It is ugly and uncomfortable but just like the rocks on the beach, racism has been a part of our society since the beginning. It has been hidden under a lofty ideal called ‘freedom’. If freedom was a loaf of bread then some unfortunate ingredients have been baked into the dough such as enslavement, internment, theft, and murder. Racism steals, kills, and destroys people. These attributes are part of the world of darkness. And as my dear friend Veron used to say, ‘you don’t need a sledge hammer from Alcatraz’ to help you break this down to see how wrong it is.

American society has created a concept of race. Contemporary scholars agree that “race” was a recent invention and that it was essentially a folk idea, not a product of scientific research and discovery… a growing number of scholars in many disciplines have declared that the real meaning of race in American society has to do with social realities, quite distinct from physical variations in the human species. ORIGIN OF THE IDEA OF RACE by Audrey Smedley Anthropology Newsletter, November 1997.

The Wheat and the Tares

“God’s kingdom is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. That night, while his hired men were asleep, his enemy sowed thistles all through the wheat and slipped away before dawn. When the first green shoots appeared and the grain began to form, the thistles showed up, too. “The farmhands came to the farmer and said, ‘Master, that was clean seed you planted, wasn’t it? Where did these thistles come from?’ “He answered, ‘Some enemy did this.’ The farmhands asked, ‘Should we weed out the thistles?’ “He said, ‘No, if you weed the thistles, you’ll pull up the wheat, too. Let them grow together until harvest time. Then I’ll instruct the harvesters to pull up the thistles and tie them in bundles for the fire, then gather the wheat and put it in the barn.’ Matthew 13:24-30 The Message

‘Race’ is a tare, a weed, a false definition that has become a part of the social fabric. Race gives human beings a reason to hate. Being a tare is powerful because its negative energy can choke out and smother the good. In Tulsa on that dark day, I am sure there were individuals who described themselves as “good Christian people‘ but they opened their hearts to evil and being filled with hate, burned down that neighborhood, killing innocent people. Those men may have believed that they had gotten away with the crime. I don’t know but no one was ever been charged or held accountable. It is speculation but I am sure that some were even proud of themselves. The truth seemed to have gotten lost in history but it wasn’t. The light is shining brightly on it today, despite being 100 years later. We see the faces, feel the hatred, the fear, and recognize the ignorance. Yes, like other stories that took time to emerge from the dark corners of history, it came out and this supports my belief that truth always rises.

We can be truthtellers

Light shines in darkness to usher in enlightenment. People seemingly wise beyond their years are in the same space as those without a clue. Who determines the wise and the ignorant? Love does. A powerful thought!!! No love, no wisdom, no enlightenment. Ignorance and evil can hide in the dark mindset but where ever and in whom ever we find love, we will also discover wisdom which illuminates our thoughts.

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I am not a scholar just a human being who believes that it is important to speak up on behalf of love and community. Hating someone because of their race is darkness, ignorance, and reveals the absence of light. Being who God created you to be and loving yourself & others is to be light and love. The greatest force in the universe, undefinable and more expansive than creation itself is love and love is on our side. Time is on our side too because eternity is pure love and light. I believe in a creator who is love and the divine spark of this love can be ignited even in those who hate. I accept because of my spiritual prism that I will always reach the conclusion that as we awaken, we join together and live in harmony. I believe a day will come when love will dissipate hate by simply loving it to death. R.I.P.